Half Dome: Another Time I Thought I Might Die

Maybe I should start this story by spoiling the ending. I didn't climb the rock. I turned around and came down. I tried to be brave and have courage but I guess I just didn't.

Maybe I should make this a series about hikes that my family wants to go on that I'm not thrilled about but went anyway and it ended up being a really good time.

This would be part two of that series. Part one would be the Grand Canyon.

This hike came about because Tyler and I got sucked into one of those you-won-a-free-trip-and-all-we-need-is-your-email-and-your-firstborn things. We decided that would be a good excuse to make a big trip out of it. We went to Tahoe first for a few days and then met up with my family in Yosemite to hike Half Dome.

I'm sure you know Yosemite is breathtaking. It's a mountainous oasis with sky scraping granite surrounding lush green valleys weaved with cold rivers. If you don't know Yosemite but you own an apple product, at one point Half Dome was your background so just filter back through there and I'm sure you'll find it.

Leading up to this trip, and many other hikes I wasn't thrilled about but went anyway, my Dad talked IT UP! Sending us the stats including elevation gain, strenuousness, and number of deaths in recent history. You know, all the things to get everyone pumped.

We hit the trail bright and early and I was scowl-y and slow. The first part has several(don't quote me, it was early) stunning waterfalls and shrubbery, a lot of which I missed because of all the scowling I was busy doing. I defrosted quickly though and rather enjoyed bringing up the rear for the next several miles. Then came the going up part of the hike.

I'm just not an uphill kind of person. I don't think it agrees with my brand. Let's just skip to the part where I wimp out.

If you haven't hiked Half Dome here's a little summary: up, up, waterfalls, granite staircases, flat, flat, flat, up, up, straight up, straight up some rocks, flat area where you eat granola bars and drink the last drops of your water, STRAIGHT UP A SLIPPERY PIECE OF GRANITE HOLDING ON TO A SHANTY CABLE THEY PUT IN HUNDREDS OF YEARS AGO AND DON'T REALLY MAINTAIN BECAUSE YOU'RE NOT TECHNICALLY SUPPOSED TO BE CLIMBING THIS TINY PIECE OF COUNTERTOP.

That is a factually accurate description of the hike. Look it up. Here, I'll look it up for you.

So we get to the sub-dome, the place where you realize the stupidity of what you've decided to attempt, and it doesn't look quite as vertical as you thought it would.

Those little dots are people. And you CAN'T EVEN SEE THE "CABLES"
You eat your snackies and drink your water and watch people inch up and down the dome and you psych yourself up.

Hilarious aside:

We were all standing around kind of eating, kind of waiting to go jump in line to start up the cables. There were large gaps between groups of hikers going up the cables because it wasn't very busy that day. All of a sudden we noticed my dad at the bottom of the cables, and he just started left-righting it up the cables. He did not look back, and he did not stop till he got to the top. And he was passing people on the way up. We all looked at each other and did a little collective shoulder shrug in hesitant agreement that we guessed it was time to go. Oh, dad. Later we would learn that he knew if he had to wait for anyone he'd probably turn around and not make it up so he just pounded it out all the way up.

We all got in line at the bottom of the cables and like I said, straight up. It looked pretty vertical from far away but up close it was incredibly worse. We started up and things were going pretty okay.

The cables are strung through basically a fire poker that the blacksmith accidentally curled too much at the end and was like, "hey, National Parks Service, do you want this messed up fire poker?" And NPS said, "that will be perfect to hold the cables that people will cling to on the face of a cliff as they climb up a slippery piece of countertop one hundred thousand feet above ground."

And then someone in the quality control department at NPS was like, "mmm, I don't know if that's quite secure enough." To which the head of stuff at NPS said, "hmmm, we'll put some 1x1x1 pieces of pine next to it and that will make the people feel like they're on sturdy stairs instead of a wet Wal-Mart floor." "Perfect." (This is not a reflection of the NPS, they're a good group.)

I have no idea how far up we were when my panic attack was triggered. I assume it was about a quarter of the way when the vertical goes from about 60 degrees to 88 degrees. We had stopped to let some people coming down get past, which happened pretty frequently, and I was holding on to one side of the cables and my feet resting on one of the sturdy pine sticks. The people had passed and I turned to grab the other cable. I heard plastic hit granite and tumble down the rock on my left side. I looked down to see what it was and it was one of the small empty gatorade bottles I had in my pack.

I watched it bounce and hit two, maybe three, times before it disappeared over the edge of the cliff. In my head I became the bottle. In a matter of seconds I weighed the consequences of my untimely, bounce-like death over the edge of the rock, and it didn't seem worth it. Tyler tried to encourage me, telling me I was steady and we could make it. Jordan and Cristy did the same, telling me it wasn't that far and it would be awesome at the top. All good points but I quickly concluded that my loss of life, however unlikely, did not seem worth the view.

I told Tyler I was done and with little contest he turned around with me and we came back down. I felt pretty sad about not going to the top for a long time. I know I probably would not have fallen off and died. But I just couldn't bring myself to risk that. I thought of Tyler and our possible future children and all the life I would miss and I just couldn't. Or maybe I saw that stupid gatorade bottle and that was enough death for me for one day.

A Book I Read

I'm happy to say I am now part of two book clubs! I have decided that book clubs are difficult to start and difficult to maintain. But very much worth it if you can keep it up and running. Maybe we should start an AdriLars book club here on the blog? Would anyone be interested in turning these posts into more of a discussion? Let me know.

So for one of the book clubs I'm in we read Funny in Farsi: A Memoir of Growing Up Iranian in America by Firoozeh Dumas. I didn't know this book existed until Ash suggested it, which is actually the truth about most things I read. I may have been an English major and English teacher but I'm probably the worst-read English major and English teacher there ever was.

For full disclosure I will say that I didn't read the book with my eyeballs, I actually listened to it on Audible. I turn my subscription on and off all the time (which is probably not how they want you to use it, but oh well) because sometimes I like to listen but other times I really want to read the book so I can write notes in it and mark things. If you want to try it there is a link over on the sidebar right under the popular posts box.

This was one of the books I'm glad I listened to because Firoozeh reads it herself and it was so fun to hear her voice telling all the stories. So many hilarious things happened to her and her family living in America, I actually snort-laughed several times.

Some favorite quotes:
It's not what we eat or don't eat that makes us good people; it's how we treat one another. As you grow older, you'll find that people of every religion think they're the best, but that's not true. There are good and bad people in every religion. Just because someone is Muslim, Jewish, or Christian doesn't mean a thing. You have to look and see what's in their hearts. That's the only thing that matters, and that's the only detail God cares about.
I truly believe that everyone has a story and everyone's story counts.
Is that boy from your country?” she asked me. “Why, yes,” I wanted to tell her. “In my country, which I own, this is National Lose Your Child at Disneyland Day.” “No,” I told her. “He’s not from my country.

Firoozeh has such a sarcastic sense of humor, which speaks to my wannabe-comedian heart. On a more serious note the book addresses the racism and discrimination that she and her family and thousands and thousands of other immigrants have faced living in America.

It made me question myself. It has added to a list of events, texts, and experiences that have made me think about my own racist tendencies, how I think of others and how I treat others. I asked myself if I had ever treated people the way that people treated Firoozeh and her family. And the answer, unfortunately, was yes. I feel I have a long way to go in order to be the accepting, kind, Christ-like person I want to be. I'm learning that it is important to question myself constantly and make efforts to change.

Has anyone else read this book? I would love to hear your thoughts. Feel free to post them here, comment or DM me on instagram or email me directly as well.

I definitely recommend reading this book if any of the above strikes a chord with you. Here is the link to the book on Amazon. Turns out it is also on sale!

My Mom Jeans

This probably isn't worth writing an entire blog post about but oh well. Since having Alice, my old pants, my hip-hugging, low-rise jeans don't quite 'fit' right. And when I say 'fit' I mean some of them don't button and some of them feel like what it probably feels like to be a sleeping bag bag. Trying to fit so much into such a small space.

I told myself that I just needed to lose the last pounds of my pregnancy weight and then they'd fit. Well I lost those pounds and guess what, they still didn't fit.

At first I was a little put off. That's annoying that just because I had a baby I now have bigger hips and I couldn't make them shrink back to the way they were before a bowling ball sized human went through them.

And then I thought, why would anything ever be the same after that? That's insane.

Here are what I would like out of my pants. Is this too much to ask? I don't think so.

I need jeans I can sit down in without my intergluteal cleft showing, or having them slide halfway down my butt.
I need jeans that let me dance.
I need jeans that don't hinder me chasing tiny baby feet.
I need jeans in which I can bend over and pick up the same thing a thousand times.
I also need jeans that make my butt look good, or like I still have a butt.
I would like jeans in good washes and with a little bit of built in wear and tear.
I would also like jeans I can take a nap in and lay on the floor in, and do other lethargic things in.

So then I went to a store and found me some jeans that didn't make me feel like stuffed sausage. Now some would classify these as mom jeans. Well that's fine cause I'm a mom, but that doesn't mean that only moms can wear jeans that fit and stay on and fill the above requirements.

So can we stop calling them mom jeans. Because I think the regular jeans would be offended that nobody really likes them or needs them anymore. And that's just sad. Why would you make the jeans feel bad like that? What did they do to you? Just let the regular, crappy, not fitting well jeans live, okay?

Let's just call them all jeans.

Did I make Tyler take a bunch of pictures of me in my new jeans solely for this post? Yes.
Do I look like a fool? Yes.
But do I look good in these jeans? Yes.

When I don't know what to do sometimes I do the 'can-can.' Poorly.
I call this one, 'Did the modeling agency call yet?' 
And this one, 'I'm just me, being me. No pictures. Okay, you can take one picture.

This was part of the 'do something fun so you look fun' idea.

Are you tired of these pictures yet? Cause there are more. 

Tyler said, "Do a toe-touch!" Nailed it.

What is The Bachelor franchise actually good for?

Tyler gets 90% of the credit for this post. He said something after we watched ATFR that really made me think and is actually a brilliant analysis of the show.

The Bachelor franchise claims to be committed to helping people find love. They've set up the perfect scenario so that people can find their perfect match and live happily ever after. Well we all know the statistics and have heard a thousand times the numbers on 'bachelor couples' that actually stay together. It's disheartening to say the least. There are very few couples that found someone they wanted to be with and even fewer who have stayed with that person since they stopped filming their season. I'm not talking about that.

The ones who made it to the end, picked someone, and have found happiness and stayed with that someone are great. I think they're the rare lucky ones. Good for them, for basically gypping a system that is built to make you fail. I'm sure they're very grateful for what they have and work hard to maintain it, but like I said they gypped the system.

The Bachelor is not good at helping people find love. It has had a few flukes where people end up happy and in love, yes. But what the Bachelor is actually extremely skilled in is breakups. Heartbreak, heartache, getting dumped, being abandoned, that is the franchise's real talent.

At the end of the show on the final day when the lead is supposed to break up with one person and propose to the other, they always say the same thing. Some form of:

"Well I know it's going to be really hard to break up with (other person I'm dating), but I also know I have to do it to get to my happy ending (being engaged to other person I'm dating)."

And then in the After show and the months that follow that's basically what the show and the media is focused on. One person's broken heart/breakup and the subsequent joy of the other two people's happy engagement. They treat it like there was really only one difficult or true breakup on the season.

But let's take a look at the course of a season. Supposedly 25+ relationships/courtships begin on day one of the show. The women/men who are dating the lead are produced and then believe that they are the one dating the lead.

So then the show goes on and people leave/get broken up with. And then we see people cry. People cry on night one of leaving. And we laugh because we think that's silly that someone would cry for being broken up with after what appears to be 6 hours of 'dating.' And it is silly. In real life that would be silly to cry over someone you met 6 hours ago. But in Bachelor world it is not silly, it is serious and sad and dare I say, dramatic?

The show constructs this environment where you're enchanted and enamored on night one. You're already convinced that [insert location] is the perfect place to fall in love. You're (a little) convinced that the lead is probably the person for you and that you could see the potential possibility of wanting to fall in love with them.

So then when you get sent home, all of that environmental hype is crushed. You feel sad and hurt and embarrassed. And then the producers ask you questions like, "do you even want to find love?," "do you consider yourself a lovable person?," "do you ever think you'll find anyone who will love you?" So you cry, and talk about how all you really want in life is happiness and you thought sharing a house with 25 other people all trying to date the person you're dating would make you happy.

That is what the show is best at. They are professionals at creating an environment that makes you anticipate and want and desire things and then they take it away from you. They dangle some dreams in front of you, even let you smell the roses and then offer them to other people.

Going back to numbers it's almost laughable that they claim to help people find love. They've helped hundreds more people get broken up with than they could ever help find love.

This is not a diss by any means. It's actually an atta boy for the show. Well done for breaking hearts for the last 16 years and fine tuning your craft. Of course they're not going to advertise that they're in the business of breaking hearts, that's just bad taste. Who wants to watch a show where people get broken up with all the time?

ALL OF AMERICA! ME! YOU! We literally relish in seeing people get broken up with on television for 12 weeks. We feed the beast year after year. We don't like the happy endings. I mean those are great, yay for two people falling in love. But what we really want to see are all the tears and the rage and the swearing off of love for good (until the next season starts casting).

So we can't be upset at them for creating the pinnacle of what they are good at. The first unedited, raw, uncooked breakup ever shown on tv, ever?! They're just doing what they do best: heartbreak! So you go, Bachelor franchise. You own your craft, take credit where credit is due. You are the master of the breakup. How you'll top what you did this season, I'm not quite sure, but I'm sure you'll find a way even if it takes several more years. We'll all be here, watching and waiting. Do your worst, or I guess best.